The boy who accuses Michael Jackson of molesting him denied it months ago to child welfare investigators who cleared the pop star of misconduct, according to a confidential memo.
The boy and his brother told investigators that Jackson never sexually abused them. Their mother said Jackson slept on the floor when they visited his Neverland Ranch, according to a memo leaked to the Web site The Smoking Gun.com, which posted it yesterday (Dec. 9). A source familiar with the document confirmed its authenticity.
The memo was dated Nov. 26, a week after the Santa Barbara County district attorney announced child molestation allegations against Jackson. It was written by an administrator with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. It appears to directly contradict allegations made by the boy and his family, who live in Los Angeles County.
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Thomas Sneddon said his office knew of the investigation and it did not affect his decision to pursue charges. The report was provided to the judge at the time search and arrest warrants in the current probe were issued, the district attorney said in a statement. "Given what we know, we do not consider the DCFS statement a significant factor," Sneddon said.
Jackson surrendered Nov. 20 on an arrest warrant alleging he committed lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14. He has denied the allegations and was released on $3 million bail. Authorities say they expect to file charges sometime next week.
According to the memo, both the boy and his brother told investigators Jackson had not sexually abused them, and their older sister said she never witnessed anything inappropriate between them. The memo was sent from a regional administrator to medical director Charles Sophy and detailed a probe completed in February, before Sophy joined the agency.
The memo, which refers to Jackson as "the entertainer," said the child welfare department and Los Angeles police began a 13-day inquiry after a Los Angeles Unified School District official called a department hot line Feb. 14. The school official suspected neglect by the boy's mother and sexual abuse by Jackson but the investigation concluded that they were "unfounded," the document said.
The school official called the hot line after the child, a cancer patient who had visited Jackson at his ranch, appeared in a TV documentary where he was seen holding hands with Jackson and resting his head on the star's shoulder.
In the documentary, Jackson defended his habit of letting children sleep in his bed as "sweet" and non-sexual. His statements prompted criticism, especially since the 45-year-old singer had faced accusations 10 years ago that he molested a young boy.
According to the memo, the boy's mother told investigators in February that "she believed the media had taken everything out of context," and said Jackson was like a father to the children. She said the children were never left alone with Jackson and that her son slept in the same room with him but never shared his bed.
A source close to the boy's family said the memo's description of the February investigation was accurate. But that source also said the Department of Children and Family Services later refused to investigate a psychologist's report that the boy said he had been molested.
The source said the boy's family went to an attorney about the time the documentary aired and that, some time later, the attorney referred them to a psychologist. In June, the psychologist alerted the department that the boy claimed to have been molested by Jackson, according to the source.
The department declined to follow up on that report because the boy was not believed to be in any imminent danger, the source close to the family said.
Larry Feldman, who represents the family and accompanied the psychologist to the department's offices in June, has refused comment on the case. Department spokesperson Stuart Riskin declined to comment on the allegations that the department would not investigate the psychologist's report.
A spokesperson for the child welfare department, said the leak likely would be investigated because the memo was supposed to be confidential under state laws designed to protect children.
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